October 17, 2021

The Senate Nigerian has pledged to accommodate the views of stakeholders in order to rid the nation’s Tertiary institutions of incidences of sexual harassment. 

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan gave this commitment during a one day public hearing on the sexual harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions prohibition bill 2019 held on Monday in Abuja. 

The bill which is sponsored by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege seeks to impose stiffer penalties on perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment.
The hearing was presided over by  Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

In his welcome address, Senator Bamidele explained that the bill seeks  to criminalize the act of neglect or failure by administrative heads of tertiary institutions to address complaints of sexual harassment within a specified period. 
In his opening remarks, President of the Senate, represented by Senate Majority Leader, Senator Yahaya Abduallahi, regarded sexual harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions as unacceptable.

Public hearing was well represented by members of the general public including stakeholders from Ministries, Department and Agencies; Academic Staff Union of Universities and Civil Society Organizations. 

Recall that the 8th Assembly of the Senate under the leadership of Bukola Saraki had passed the bill titled: “Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Education Institution Prohibition Bill”
The bill was however rejected by the House of Representatives when it was sent for concurrence.

Then Femi Gbajabiamila, who is now the Speaker of the House of Representatives, had argued that the bill did not take care of other spheres of the society like the workplace, religious institutions among others an argument which was adopted by many members of the House.

The re-introduction of the Bill comes after a BBC documentary exposed two lecturers of the University of Lagos, and a lecturer of the University of Ghana of sexual harassment. 

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